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Civil engineers may do some or all of the following

  • consult clients, other professionals and government officials
  • study, investigate and evaluate construction and land-development sites
  • plan and design structures such as roads, drainage and buildings
  • get plans approved by relevant authorities
  • prepare cost estimates and contract documents
  • tender contracts and find contractors
  • supervise and monitor construction to ensure structures are built to plan, and meet standards
  • ensure assets, such as regional water plants and roading, and their allocated budgets are efficiently managed.

Civil engineers, particularly those working as asset managers for local councils, may also be involved in risk-assessment work, conduct public surveys, hold public forums and write long-term council plans.


Civil engineers need to have

  • knowledge of civil engineering
  • creative and design skills for developing their designs
  • skill in analysing and interpreting information, such as clients' requirements
  • knowledge of surveying methods
  • knowledge of relevant legislation such as the Resource Management Act, the New Zealand Building Code, by-laws and town planning regulations
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • good communication skills
  • writing skills for producing reports
  • computer skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • an eye for detail.

Civil engineers need to be

  • self-disciplined
  • safety-conscious
  • able to make good judgements
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to work independently and in a team.
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